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Four Injured After Crane Collapses on the Tappan Zee

Sep 5, 2016 | Construction Accidents, Personal Injury

In April of 2013, construction began on a new Tappan Zee Bridge. The construction project was long awaited, as there has been more than 10 years of debate before breaking ground. The new bridge will be just a few yards away from the old bridge, and it will span eight lanes. Construction is slated to be completed in 2018, and the new bridge is expected to last for 100 years. It will replace the old bridge, which was constructed for $81 million in 1955 and built to last 50 years.

Unfortunately, a recent incident occurred during the construction of the new bridge which resulted in four injuries. A crane, which was sitting on the deck of the under-construction bridge, collapsed. The crane was carrying a vibrating hammer when the collapse occurred. It was reportedly engaged in a routine construction procedure, driving pilings into the earth, when the collapse happened.  Four people were hurt in the collapse and motorists became trapped in traffic for hours.

Governor Cuomo said it is not clear what caused the malfunction, and explained that “sometimes equipment breaks and sometimes accidents happen.” Unfortunately, this explanation is not likely to provide comfort to injured victims or their families. When accidents happen, there are very real consequences for people’s lives. Victims of accidents need to consult with New York injury attorneys so they can understand what their rights are and so they can pursue claims for compensation for the harm they have endured.

Crane Collapses Can Have Serious Consequences

The collapse of the crane which was sitting on the bridge ended up slamming down across seven lanes of traffic. The bridge was damaged and it had to be shut down for several hours going in both directions.  Because of the falling crane, two vehicles become involved in accidents. No car actually hit the crane.  However, three people in the affected vehicles did sustain injuries, as did one worker who was involved in the construction of the bridge.

Officials are investigating the accident cause in order to determine if it occurred because of a worker’s mistake or if the problem happened due to either a problem with the crane or hammer. If the problem arose due to a malfunction with either the hammer or crane, victims may be able to pursue a personal injury claim based on product liability law.

Product liability law dictates that– unlike in a typical injury claim where negligence must be proved — negligence is not necessarily in lawsuits against manufacturers of malfunctioning products. If a product, such as a hammer or crane, does not function appropriately for its intended purpose, the product maker can be made to compensate victims of an accident that occurs as a direct result of product use.

Outside of product liability claims, the injured worker is likely not going to be permitted to sue his employer because he must recover through workers’ compensation instead.  The motorists who were injured could potentially make a claim for negligence against the construction company doing work on the bridge, if it could be proved the company was negligent in a manner that resulted in the crane collapse occurring.

Rosenberg, Minc, Falkoff & Wolff can provide assistance in pursuing damage claims when cranes or other construction equipment turns out to be defective, so contact an attorney as soon as you can following an accident.